BARONS GAME NOTES - MARCH 30
By Jim Byers,
Oklahoma City Barons (31-23-2-8) at Rockford IceHogs (34-29-2-1)
AHL Media Kit: http://admin.leaguestat.com/download.php?file_path=new-pdf/1010871-40.pdf&client_code=ahl
TONIGHT: The Barons wrap up a 4-game road stretch with their 4th and final meeting of the year with the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks). The road team has won each game in the season series, with OKC taking the Jan. 26 matchup at BMO Harris Bank Center, 4-3. The IceHogs swept the Barons are the Cox Center March 8-9, 4-3 in a shootout and 7-4, a game where the Barons had 3-0 and 4-1 leads. OKC is 2-0-0-1 on the trip and has 72 points, 9th-most in the Western Conference. Rockford is tied for 10th with 71.
OFF THE TOP: Last night’s 4-2 win at Peoria halted a stretch of 6 straight Barons games ending with a 3-2 score. Brandon Davidson’s first AHL goal at 19:34 of the third, into an empty net, averted a possible 7th straight 3-2 decision. The Barons are unbeaten in regulation in a club-record 6 consecutive road games, 5-0-0-1. The previous club high was 5, achieved 3 times in previous seasons. OKC has standing points in 10 of the last 13 games, going 7-3-0-3. The Barons are 6-3-0-3 in March, with all 6 wins on the road. This month is tied with December (6-4-0-1) for the second-winningest month this season behind a 7-3-1-2 mark during November. Yann Danis has played all 5 games since returning from his latest stint with the Edmonton Oilers, going 2-1-2 with a 2.14 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
SPECIALTIES: The Barons have gone a season-high 5 straight games without allowing a power play goal after blanking Peoria on its 5 power play tries last night. OKC is 17-for-17 in the last 5 games on the PK. Mark Arcobello moved into a tie for 11th in the AHL in points with 55 by notching his 20th goal of the season last night. Arcobello’s tally came on the power play, as the Barons went 1-for-3 on the man advantage. OKC is 21-11-2-3 when scoring at least 1 power play goal and 11-4-1-0 when notching 2 or more. Tonight’s game features the league’s top 2 teams by power play percentage: Rockford (21.7) and the Barons (21.4).
RAJALA ROLLING: Toni Rajala became the Barons’ second-leading scorer on the active roster with a goal last night (on his 22nd birthday), his 11th AHL goal this season. Rajala’s 31 points in 34 Barons games place him 4th overall in team scoring for the season behind Mark Arcobello (55 points) and current Edmonton Oilers Jordan Eberle (51), Justin Schultz (48) and Taylor Hall (34). Rajala, who has had 2 stints with ECHL Stockton including one to start the season, has points in 10 of the last 11 games, with 4 goals and 10 assists in that time. Rajala’s +13 rating is second on the team behind Martin Marincin’s +16.
PIVOTAL PERFORMERS: Philippe Cornet has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) and a +6 rating in 26 games since rejoining the Barons from ECHL Stockton for a second time this season Jan. 12. Jonathan Cheechoo has 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists) and a +4 in 24 games with the Barons since joining the team on a PTO Jan. 23. Cheechoo has amassed his 23 points in 9 games, including 8 multi-point contests. Taylor Fedun has 3 goals in the last 9 games after going 35 games without lighting the lamp dating to back-to-back tallies against Milwaukee Nov. 16-17. Kendall McFaull, signed to an AHL contract March 18 after completing his final junior season with Moose Jaw, recorded an assist last night in his first AHL game.
PLAYOFF SNAPSHOT: Entering tonight’s games, 5 points separate 7 teams vying for Calder Cup playoff spots in the Western Conference from the No. 5 position, where Rochester and Houston have 76 points, to the No. 10 spot, shared by Rockford and Abbotsford with 71. Two teams share the 7th-most points with 73: Chicago and Milwaukee. OKC is 9th with 72. The Barons and Chicago share the fewest games played in the Western Conference with 64. The Barons have 12 games remaining, 6 at home and 6 on the road.
THIS AND THAT: Last night’s victory was OKC’s first this season in a game immediately following a shootout loss...the Barons had been 0-7-0-0 following a shootout defeat...they dropped a 6-round shootout at Chicago on Wednesday in a 3-2 final score...OKC is 7-1-1-0 when Philippe Cornet scores a goal...the Barons are 5-0-0-0 when Jonathan Cheechoo scores a goal and 8-1-0-0 when he records at least 1 point.
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